Section: News

10 groups request Phebruary Phunds

10 groups request Phebruary Phunds

photo by Kathryn Levins

By McKenna Trimble

The solution to the winter blues? Phebruary Phunds.

“February can be very dreary,” Associate Dean of Students Tacci Smith said. “Although it’s the shortest month of the year, at Kenyon, it feels like it drags on.”

Alumni established the Davidson Fund, a pool of $10,000 to be put towards funding non-alcoholic, student-driven, campus-wide events during the month of February. The Student Activities Office (SAO) later added the stipulation that the event must be held on a weekend in order to promote student attendance.

Initially, the SAO used the fund to throw the annual Philander’s Phling, which Smith likened to a traditional high school prom. However, student interest in hosting the event waned over time. “The problem was, over the years, we definitely had students who wanted to come to it, participate in it, but not students who wanted to plan it,” Smith said. By 2010, no student groups stepped forward to host the event, so the fund went unused. Smith and other members of the SAO decided to expand the use of the fund to include other student-run events in February, renaming the account “Phebruary Phunds,” also known as “Pheb Phunds.”

Ethan Fuirst ’17, treasurer of Cinearts, said the group took advantage of Phebruary Phunds this year to plan a “Nora Ephron-a-Thon,” a triple screening of director Ephron’s When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail to be held this Valentine’s Day. “What we wanted to do was going to be very expensive and we were asking for a lot of money from the Budget and Finance Committee [BFC] … and we were nervous they wouldn’t give us the money,” Fuirst said.

Kenyon Hillel also applied for Phebruary Phunds to host a screening of the film Everything is Illuminated. Hillel Co-Manager Julia Hartman ’15 cited a tight budget created by Hillel’s new location on campus — the Rothenburg Hillel House — for the club’s application for funds. “We are so grateful to have the new building,” Hartman wrote in an email to the Collegian. “However, furnishing Rothenburg and stocking its two kosher kitchens proved to be an extremely expensive endeavor! We applied for Pheb Phunds in order to alleviate our budget constraints.”

Smith cited 10 groups who applied for the Phunds through an application on OrgSync. In the application, groups had to specify how the event would benefit the Kenyon community as well as provide a line-by-line spreadsheet of any anticipated expenses. Of the 10 organizations that applied, three had also received Phunds last year.

Smith, along with a committee composed of student representatives from each class year, a member of the Student Life Committee, a member of Greek Council, a member of the BFC and Student Activities Intern and Director of Student Activities Laura Kane reviewed each application. There was no limitation on the number of groups that could be awarded funding. “There’s no rhyme or reason,” Smith said. “We could do one, we could do 10 if there was enough money and it made sense.” The Craft Center, the Horn Gallery and Zeta Alpha Pi (Zeta) received funding again this year, as well as Cinearts, Hillel and the Asian Society at Kenyon.

There is also no specification for the amount of money that can be awarded to each group. Cinearts was granted the amount they requested in full. Of the available $10,000, Smith reported that about $9,800 had been allotted to different events, with the most money going to support a Zeta-hosted Casino Night and the smallest sum of money funding a crafting event hosted by the Craft Center. “We were really able to, this year, give everybody what they requested and maybe even a little bit more,” Smith said.

After each club is granted Phunds, a staff member of the Student Activities Office acts as their advisor for their event. Fuirst, one of Smith’s advisees, was grateful for the one-on-one consultations. “Having an advisor … to help us understand exactly [how to make] the money transactions really helped, because we’ve done transactions through the BFC and sometimes that [felt] … a little confusing,” Fuirst said.

With Phebruary Phunds, students can hopefully avoid the dreariness that late winter has come to promise.

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